Enyimba out as CAF picks Al Ittihad for Confederation Cup group phase
Enyimba of Aba were conspicuously missing, yesterday, when the Confederations of African Football (CAF) conducted the draws for the group stage of the Confederation Cup, reports soccernet.ng.
At the draws in Cairo, Al Ittihad, who was Enyimba’s opponent in the last qualifying round, were placed in Group B alongside Algeria’s JS Saoura and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates.
The last spot in the group was reserved for the aggregate winner of the tie between Algeria’s JS Kabylie and Eswatini’s Royal Leopards.
This development effectively ends Enyimba’s continental challenge this season despite winning all three games.
The Aba Elephants defeated Senegalese side Diambars home and away for a 4-0 aggregate win in the previous round.
Enyimba’s troubles began when coronavirus-related travel issues stopped them from honouring their first leg fixture Al-Ittihad in Libya.
They, however, outclassed their opponents 2-0 in the second leg at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba on December 5.
Enyimba then petitioned CAF to either cancel their outstanding clash against the Libyans or have it played anywhere outside the country.
But CAF later ruled in favour of Al Ittihad, ordering Enyimba to honour the return fixture in Benghazi on December 19.
Al Ittihad then performed a walkover when Enyimba did not show up for the game, ignoring the two-time African champions’ requests for a date shift.
CAF has now endorsed the Libyans’ move with the omission of Enyimba from yesterday’s draws, leaving the Elephants hunting for glory in the domestic competitions.
The George Finidi-led side has won their first two games in the 2021-22 NPFL season, beating Abia Warriors 2-1 on the opening weekend before edging Rangers 1-0 away on Boxing Day.